How to Paint the Exterior of a Metal Mobile Home or Travel Trailer


Travel trailers and mobile homes are prefabricated structures that are usually built with thin, lightweight materials to cut down on costs. The outer shells of many trailers and mobile homes are made of a thin aluminum alloy that offers protection while keeping the module light enough to move. This thin metal is painted when it come from the factory for an added layer of protection from the elements. Paint the exterior of your metal mobile home or travel trailer every couple of years to extend the life of the unit.

Things You'll Need

  • Drop cloths
  • Tape
  • Newspaper
  • Razor knife
  • Putty knife
  • Medium-grit sandpaper
  • Rags
  • Latex primer
  • Roller pan
  • Roller with 1/4-inch nap
  • 3-inch paintbrush
  • Water
  • Latex paint
  • Work gloves
  • Safety glasses
  • Lay your drop cloths around the perimeter of the trailer to protect the ground from spills. Cut newspaper with the razor knife to fit over the glass and any other surface you do not want to paint. Hold the newspaper in place with painter's tape.

  • Walk around the trailer and inspect the surfaces in detail. Scrape away any loose paint with a putty knife. Sand rusted areas with medium-grit sandpaper. Wipe the entire metal surface of the trailer clean with rags.

  • Pour enough primer in your roller pan to fill it half full. Apply primer to the borders of the trailer with your paintbrush. Apply primer to large, open areas of the metal with a roller. Let the primer dry completely and apply a second coat. Clean your tools with water while you wait for the second coat of primer to dry.

  • Apply two coats of latex paint over the primer. Take your time and focus on getting smooth, even coverage. Clean your tools between each coat of paint. Let the first coat dry completely before applying the next.

  • Remove the tape and paper 15 minutes after the final coat of paint is applied. Pull the tape free slowly to avoid marring the paint. Pick up your drop cloths and let the paint dry completely.

Tips & Warnings

  • Wear work gloves and safety glasses when sanding and using hand tools.

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  • Photo Credit Andy Reynolds/Lifesize/Getty Images
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